Friday, April 30, 2010

Let Someone In

We are born vulnerable, yet open to all the world has to offer. Yet after years of disappointment and heartache, we begin to believe that we're better off alone. Our shells harden and even if we still desperately wish for someone to come in, we make it nearly impossible to break through.

Yet that's also exactly what prevents us from breaking out as well. The more we set ourselves apart from the world, the farther away from our Selves we become.

We aren't really as alone as we believe… and one way to see that is to open up the shell and let someone in.

Why is it easier said than done?
Fear, depression and complacency all grow under that shell. Opening up the shell means having to face them head-on; not an easy thing. Also, we have to give up some control and we have to be willing to be vulnerable with another person; not really knowing if we'll be hurt all over again.

That's just scary.

Why should I do it anyway?
With great vulnerability can come great joy. The world can seem new again. All past wounds can be healed; all past wrongs righted… or at least, it could be the start of something wonderful!

We'll never know, if we never try.

Where do I begin?
We start by acknowledging the shell we've built, the fears we have. We then take a deep breath and say it'll be ok… and just let it go.

Next, be honest with someone else. Let them help. Be open and vulnerable to them…

…And don't worry that they might judge… because if they truly are meant to be here, there won't be judgment… or pain… or complacency.

Just love.

It is not by rising above our humanity, but above our inhumanity, that sets us free.

I missed a few of these posts because I had the extreme honor of performing in a play. While I've been on stage for many years now, it's been quite some time since I had lines and a character to portray. It was truly a transcendent moment; one which I will cherish tremendously.

It was the Andersonville Trial, a Civil War Court Room Drama, about the inhuman treatment of Union Soldiers in a prisoner-of-war camp. As the story unfolded, and the questions arose about following orders vs making humane choices, one couldn't help but think about the other astounding moments in history... Nazi Germany... Vietnam... Guantanamo.

Have we learned anything? Are times getting worse? Or are we just better televised?

I believe (perhaps this is the Optimist in me) that a majority of the world is made up of very good people... people who wish to lead a decent, moral life; raising their children to be more kind and forgiving than we've been.

And yet, it's not just about those that willfully do harm to others... it's also about how good people often turn away, doing nothing, that let's the bad things continue. The North and South knew those camps existed, so did the Germans in 1940... just as we know what's going on in places like Guantanamo, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Afghanistan.

The question is... what can we do? What can you do?

All too often, we see our humanity as a problem... as if being human is somehow faulty, imperfect; something to be ignored or overcome...

But that's just not the case. To be Human is to be Divine. We are magnificent beings... enabled to do so much magic... as long as we believe in that magic.

The problem is when we forget that... in ourselves, and in each other... when we think of others as less than Human, less than Divine, in order for use to feel justified in our hatred and our cruelty to one another.

Loving one another is loving ourselves. Embracing our humanity, and remembering just how special WE ALL ARE is the key to freedom. Losing that means losing so much more.

Keep that light on! (and I mean it!!)


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but if it keeps squeaking, it's also the first to be replaced.

I've often heard the saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" as a positive way of saying "speak up to get what you want"... but all too often it actually means "complain to get what you want".

Now I'm all for speaking up, especially if getting what you want will help you to help others... but complaining is never the way to do it. Complaining is a negative reaction to a negative situation; and often adds to the problem.

Giving you grease because you've given grief is just covering up a problem that will eventually work it's way back.

Instead, focus on solutions. Make sure that you ask for, and receive, something positive to make the end results positive.

That's the way for everyone to win.

Keep the light on!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If you only get one chance to make a first impression, can you get two chances to get a second opinion?

While it is important to put your best foot forward and make a great first impression, that's not all there is to you. You're way too special, amazing and multi-faceted to get to know in one single moment... so don't put so much pressure on yourself. Sure there are times that are important, like first dates and job interviews, but there are millions of other moments that need your attention.

Just be you at all times.

That matters the most to the people who matter the most.

Keep the light on!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When you say "it's a lot of work" let that be the beginning, not the ending of your story.

You ever hear the saying 'if it came in a bottle we'd all have it" referring to weight loss, or success or a million dollars... basically, if it were easy, we'd all get it.

But it's not.

Not that it can't be easy... but in order to get what we want, we often have to go out and get it.

And that takes work.

So... how badly do you want it?

If you say "it's a lot of work" as an excuse so you can go back to not doing it, then accept the fact that you probably won't get it.

But if you say 'it's a lot of work" and then start working...

Well then... you're on your way, now aren't you?

Happy planting!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Your Cause is to be your best. Let the world take care of the Effect.

We are like pebbles, tossed into a still pond. We cannot say what happens to the ripples after that. Once they go out, they will do as they will.

The same with us.

We can't really control the effect that our words and deeds and actions have upon the world. Of course, those of us with good intentions, certainly want the currents to be helpful and not harmful to others... but then the intention belongs to us... the ripples belong to the world.

So don't edit yourself, or second guess what MIGHT happen... especially if that causes you to do nothing because of fear.

Just be the best pebble you can be... and go out and make a big splash upon the world!

Keep the light on!

Make More Than You Spend

Money is a very powerful force in our lives. Although it can't buy us happiness, it sure can make it easier to go after our dreams… and that makes us very happy.

Many people have an unhealthy relationship with money. We're unhappy with what we have, so we feel we need more. Then we spend money we don't have to temporarily pave over a hole that will eventually show itself again in our lives.

Ways to do that
Make More
Get a raise
Get a better job
Get a second job
Convert a hobby to a job
Sell stuff around the house
Sell other stuff

Spend Less
Use coupons
Don't buy retail
Substitute with cheaper
Split it with someone
Do without
Why is it easier said than done?
Time is a valuable thing. It's often not easy to just add another job. Getting a better one or any of the other things mentioned all involve a bit of risk. It also involves sacrificing and depriving ourselves of something we enjoy. Now who wants to do that?

Why should I do it anyway?
Because we can still find a way to have all the important things in our lives… and they can be more valuable to use, when we remove all the fat that surrounds us. Also, we can't keep living at a deficit forever. Eventually we run out of stuff… and everything comes to a complete halt.

Where do I begin?
It is easier to begin with what we have, than what we don't. Therefore, the first place to start is in saving what we have, by shopping around, using coupons or just not shopping at all. It's amazing how money can just slip out of our hands, so watch the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves. Next would be selling what we don't need, because once again, we're starting from what we do have. Then, while all this is going on, we ought to look for ways to increase the money coming in; not just by wishing it, or playing the lottery, but by setting actual attainable goals, then doing the right action to make them happen.

By making more than we spend, or spending less than we make, we can build reserves for more lean times; or just start to generate a feeling of security and wealth. That alone is worth its weight in gold.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

There's always enough time to change your past.

You've always heard the saying 'you can't change the past' but the truth is, you do; every day. You decide what's important, what's memorable, what's painful... you decide what you keep and what you let go... and you look back with a different set of eyes, and a renewed perspective that gives you insight in ways you haven't seen before.

So you can look back now, at everything that brought you here, and rearrange it all. Keep some things, purge the rest... the past is simply the echoes of yesterday... and today you can sing a different song.

The past is yours, as much as the present and the future... you have the power to change all of it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Add to their conversation, not your own.

While you are an amazing, fascinating, incredible being, when it's time to connect to our fellow amazing, fascinating and incredible beings, drop the agendas and the running monologues. Listen to others and connect to what they are saying. By all means, share your stories and opinions, even when they disagree... just as long as the connection is there.

Stay in the moment too. Leap frogging three steps ahead disconnects the conversation and puts you back into your own story.

It's easier said once done.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If you can't let it go, at least let it be.

While it's important to let each emotion go, sometimes they cling a little harder; linger a little longer; dig a little deeper. In times like that, it's important not to add emotions to emotions. For example, getting angry over being sad is certainly not going to make you happy, now will it?

Yet there are circumstances that are bigger than your day-to-day feelings; where you can't just 'get over it'. In those times, don't force anything. By all means, do stuff that brings you good feelings, but don't get stuck on being stuck.

Let it be... this too will pass, when you let it runs its course.

It's all part of being human.

Keep the light on!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Challenge yourself up to the point of success... no more, no less.

Success takes effort; sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. It's different each time, so we really can't say definitively 'how much is enough?' Put in too little, and nothing happens; too much, and you burn out.

The key is in finding the sweet spot...

But how?

Hint: You know more than you think you know.

Trust yourself. Take a moment out to do a check-up on yourself. How do you FEEL? Good or Bad? Energized or Tired? Fulfilled or Frustrated?

Your emotions are your gauges for what's going on under your hood. They're closer to your subconscious than you realize... so see what they have to say.

Then make adjustments along the way. Rest if you need to; or get up and do something.

The road to success is a winding one, so adjust as you go.

Keep the light on!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

When you're one step away, don't step away.

Sometimes we're lucky enough to see the finish line; other times we just don't know if success is just around the corner or not... yet the only way to find out is to keep going!

Right now, you are at the threshold of your dreams-coming-true. Sure, it's been a long road, you're tired, impatient and in need of a nice hot shower... but thinking about that isn't going to get you farther... one more step will.

In fact, one small step might just be the quantum leap you've been looking for.

So what are you waiting for? Step to it!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Want to learn patience? I'll tell you later.

Having this saying on my status brought up a lot of interesting reactions from people. It seems people don't want to wait to learn how to be patient. We've grown to become such an instant society that fast food is just too slow and conversations have all but abandoned the use of vowels.

Patience is not something you get, even if you wait for it. It's really an expression of other virtues...

Patience is Trust in your Persistence. It's a belief that the path you are on is the right one... and a belief that with enough time, this road will lead you to where you want to go.

Hope is like Faith, in that it's a belief in what you are doing. However, Hope is also a belief that what is at the end of the road is ultimately worth the journey.

Determination is the desire behind the journey. It's the motivation to keep on going, even when the going gets rough; it's the force that helps you get up when you're knocked down, to do it even when you don't want to. It's Faith and Hope in Action.

Love is the journey itself; it's the reason behind the journey; it's the road there... and the final destination. When you have Love for the process itself, and not just for the expectations of something up ahead, then and only then, will you truly be able to understand Patience.

PS Let me know when you get 'there' so I can say 'I told you so' :-)

Keep the light on!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Negative experiences are a part of Life. Positive Outcomes are a part of Living.

Stuff happens. None of it is really 'good' or 'bad' but rather we either like what happens, or we don't. Now of course, y'gotta admit that there's an awful lot of stuff that nobody would really WANT to happen... but then it's going to happen anyway.

While you might argue that some people are dealt better hands than others, none of it really matters. It's all in how you play the game. You really only lose if you sit there and complain about the cards.

Our present moments are the results of our past events, and even more so the results of how we dealt with those events. Good, bad or indifferent... they all got us HERE.

So the future is dependant on what you do Today with all your stuff. Going through some negative experiences? It happens. Move through it; Learn from it; Grow out of it.

Take it for what it's worth... turn it around... and you can make it worth so much more tomorrow.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A seed can only become a flower after it has let go of its shell.

As I hiked up around this beautiful mountainside, I was in awe at the thought that all of those mighty oaks once started as a tiny acorn. I found an empty acorn shell along the way and carried it with me as I went higher up the trail.

It got me thinking about how many people stay inside their shell, mostly for their own protection, I understood that... but just look at how tiny life is, when you remain closed up and hardened against the world.

While breaking through the shell certainly can make you vulnerable... with proper nurturing, you can keep yourself planted firmly while still reaching for the sky.

Let go and watch it grow!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Remember when a stick would become a rocketship and dragons flew among the clouds? They didn't change.

There was a time when everything was possible, where our imaginations could take us to the outer reaches of the universe and back again in the blink of an eye. Yet as we got older and more 'responsible' we lost that sense of awe and wonder. The open road ahead seems full of prowlers instead of possibilities. The clouds just seem to get in the way of our sunny day.


They're not the one who changed.

Just ask any child.

Take the time today to take a peak. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, April 05, 2010

A 'rut' and a 'groove' look alike... But are lightyears apart.

We all have daily habits, some out of necessity, others out of old rituals... and some routines so old that we've even forgotten why we do them. If you find that you've fallen into a rut, it's time to re-examine every habit and double-check if they're still useful.

If a routine serves your purpose, then keep it; if it doesn't, look for new ways to fulfill your needs and bring joy back into you rlife.

make small adjustments now... and you'll be into the groove in no time!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Move it

Choose wisely
Even "Choose" is a word..

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Pull of Life

Whenever we find ourselves having to PUSH ourselves out of bed in the morning, to PUSH ourselves to work, then PUSH ourselves back home to someone waiting for us, we're living the wrong life.

Even though Life does take effort, PUSHING is not the direction to go. In fact, pushing either send us in a haphazard direction, or no direction at all. Have you ever tried to PUSH a dog leash?

Instead, let Life PULL you towards your dreams...

It's about PASSION
If it seems like the future is calling, that's because it comes from a very deep part of the soul. It's what we care about so much, that other things are paled in comparison. It's what we want our lives to be about; our legacy, if we could make it so.

It's about PURPOSE
By changing our focus from a PUSH to a PULL, each step will be purposely driven closer one-step-at-a-time. We're not distracted like pushing the shopping cart down the candy aisle, we stay focused on what we need and go straight for it.

Hurdles aren't roadblocks
Hurdles are still going to be there. That's just the way Life is. Yet, instead of PUSHING harder to get over them, or through them, it's better to keep our eyes on the goal, put our energy into RISING ABOVE the hurdle and let our dreams PULL us over.

Like a rubber band
Sometimes it's not going to be a constant pull either. In fact, there are times when it's best to stay put and prepare for the flight. Like a rubber band, let the tension build. The stronger the tension, the higher the flight.

Let go and fly
Then stop fighting it. Everything is in place. The pull is strong. The goal is set. Letting go will let it happen.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is permission just to be.

We live in a world where perfection is just a photo touch-up away. Billboards, magazines, TV shows all tell us that there's someone else we're supposed to be. The images are there to sell us something, but all too often we buy into the idea that there's something wrong with the way we are.

Here's a hint: we're fine just the way we are.

We're supposed to be 'imperfect'... it's the perfect design, actually.

Think about it. If we were in perfect balance, we'd just stay put, not going anywhere... but by being just a little 'off-balance' we have a direction to lean into... someplace to grow.

While it's nice to aspire to something 'better' it's important to realize that what we see is not attainable... even the people in the magazines don't look like the people in the magazines. So don't put so much emphasis on becoming THAT.

You are beautiful just the way you are.

That's not to say you can't go out and make 'improvements'... after all, that's the whole point of life... to grow, to try new things... to unfold... to become...

Just understand that the 'imperfections' are there to give you something to go on... and go for... and get.

All you have to do is give yourself permission to let it be.

Better than nothing...

Transferable Skills
Don't do nothing, do something.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Smaller success is better than bigger failure.

Let me start off by saying that it's great to live large... to have big dreams, and lofty goals... and it's OK to fail in the attempt to achieve them (failure is a great teacher if you're willing to learn)... yet in our pursuit of the big picture, we sometime miss out on all the joy of the finer details... the smaller successes that come along every day.

There'a ll this talk about focusing on the successes so that we get more of them. That's a lovely thought... but it also suggests that those next moments are somehow more important than the ones that just passed.

So just stop for a moment and be grateful for grateful sake. Savor the moments as they are, for what they are... because, in the end, they make the day that much sweeter.

And, really, that's what Life is all about.